This site is intended for health professionals only

Malaria a problem among travellers

Two in every five students travelling on their gap year are putting themselves at risk by not taking precautions against malaria, a survey has shown.

A study conducted on behalf of the Malaria Awareness Campaign found that as many as 41% of young travellers do not sleep under a mosquito net in areas where the disease is prevalent.

Overall, 25% of gap-year tourists did not obtain travel health advice before their trip, according to the survey by

Of the near-1,000 gap-year travellers polled, 10% did not use essential protection methods such as mosquito repellent. founder Tom Griffiths said: "An estimated 250,000 gap-year students will head off on trips this year and more than three-quarters will visit malaria-endemic areas.

"By not taking the necessary precautions, we believe hundreds are needlessly becoming seriously ill from malaria each year. It is a preventable death, stopped by simple education."

Dr George Kassianos of the Malaria Guidelines Committee said: "It is essential that all travellers seek guidance from their GP, practice nurse or travel clinic at least six to eight weeks prior to travelling."

Every year between 1,500 and 2,000 people return to the UK with malaria and on average nine people will die.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a 191% increase in travel to malaria-rife destinations.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

The latest Nursing in Practice survey is looking at wound care. Completing the survey will take just 5 minutes and the survey results will be reported in the November/December 2008 issue of Nursing in Practice magazine. There will also be a prize draw where four lucky winners will win £50 worth of Marks & Spencer vouchers. Click here to take part.

How can we convince gap year travellers of the importance of malaria prophylaxis? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"While we are quite concerned about malaria - how about other diseases like yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis that the mosquitoes can spread?" - Keng-Gah Tham, London